Monday, September 24th, 2018


France unveils major tax cuts as growth flags

PARIS, Sept 24 — The French government today unveiled billions of euros in tax relief for businesses and households, alongside further budget cuts, as President Emmanuel Macron struggles to deliver more jobs and higher growth as promised. The…

Reports: Michael Kors nears US$2b deal to buy Versace

NEW YORK, Sept 24 — Luxury brand Michael Kors is close to a deal to buy hallowed Italian fashion house Versace for about US$2 billion (RM8.2 billion), financial media reported today. Michael Kors, whose roots are in the United States but which is…

China says US trying to force it to submit on trade as new tariffs kick in

BEIJING, Sept 24 — The United States and China imposed fresh tariffs on each other’s goods today as the world’s biggest economies showed no signs of backing down from an increasingly bitter trade dispute that is expected to knock global…

Iran says oil to rise as Saudi, Russia do ‘little and late’

LONDON, Sept 24 — Saudi Arabia and Russia won’t add significantly more oil to the market because of a lack of capacity, a top Iranian official said today, predicting prices will probably rise further. Yesterday, ministers and officials from the…

SME Mart to assist entrepreneurs market products overseas

SHAH ALAM, Sept 24 — SME Mart, an initiative introduced by Dewan Ekonomi Usahawan Malaysia (DEUM) will serve as a platform for Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs to sell their products on both the local and international market….

Wall St lower as industrials, tech fall on trade woes

NEW YORK, Sept 24 — US stock indexes fell today, with industrial and technology shares bearing the brunt of the latest round of US-China tariffs as neither country showed signs of backing down from a protracted trade war. Nine of the 11 major…

Bursa Malaysia revises sector classification, indices

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia Bhd today introduced five new sectors, among other changes, to the stock exchange's sector classification and sectorial indices, aligning its sector classification with internationally recognised standards.

The five new sectors and corresponding indices introduced are energy, healthcare, telecommunications & media, transport & logistics and utilities.

Three existing sectors and the corresponding indices will be broadened and renamed, including consumer products (renamed consumer products & services), finance (renamed financial services) and industrial products (renamed industrial products & services).

Four sectors are removed, which are hotel, infrastructure project companies, mining and its corresponding index as well as trading/services and its corresponding index.

The new sector classification is intended to ensure that Bursa Malaysia's sectors and sectorial indices continue to appropriately represent the global equity markets, enabling asset owners, asset managers and investment research specialists to make consistent global comparisons by industry.

For example, companies previously under the sector of trading/services, which are too broad based, are now classified under utilities (Tenaga Nasional Bhd), telecommunications & media (Maxis Bhd), consumer products & services (Genting Bhd).

The new sector classification will also see the introduction of a two-tiered structure, with public listed companies (PLCs) classified within main sectors and subsectors. The consideration used to determine sector classification will be revenue streams (taken from the PLCs' audited accounts) as well as the core business, direction and future plans of the PLC. The new classification will allow for better scoping of sector analysis to pinpoint industry investment opportunities, in line with global market trends.

Effective today, there are 13 sectors, of which are broadened to 42 sub-sectors.

Bursa Malaysia CEO Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan said this initiative ensures a more comprehensive, accurate and relevant classification of PLCs, and provides increased clarity, better structure and universality to meet the needs of the investment industry.

“For investors, the benefit of uniformity and standardisation will allow for better refinement of risk assessment through greater granularity on the asset allocation for investment purposes,” he said at the launch.

Bursa Malaysia head of information services Fareedah Hussein said the exchange took 18 months to revamp and construct the 13 sectorial indices.

She added that a small number of companies, mostly with diversified businesses, challenged the exchange on its allocation but they relented when Bursa Malaysia explained the change and the importance of placing them with the right peers for accurate peer analysis.

Singapore fines Grab, Uber combined S$13m, moves to open up ride-hailing market

SINGAPORE: Singapore slapped ride-hailing firms Grab and Uber with fines and finalised restrictions to open up the market to competitors after concluding that their merger in March has driven up prices.

Uber Technologies Inc sold its Southeast Asian business to bigger regional rival Grab in March in exchange for a 27.5% stake in the Singapore-based firm.

While the combined S$13 million (RM39.4 million) fine was small compared with the firms' multi-billion dollar valuations, that and the other measures imposed by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore today represent the strongest censure by a regulator since the deal was unveiled.

The anti-trust watchdog said it would require that Grab drivers not be tied to Grab exclusively and that Grab's exclusivity arrangements with any taxi fleets be removed.

Uber will also be required to sell its car rental business to any rival that makes a reasonable offer and will not be allowed to sell those vehicles to Grab without the watchdog's permission. The car rental business, Lion City, had a fleet of some 14,000 vehicles as of December.

Fining Uber S$6.6 million and Grab S$6.4 million, the regulator said effective fares on Grab rose 10-15% after the deal, and that the firm now holds a Singapore market share of around 80%.

Uber said it believed the decision was based on an “inappropriately narrow definition of the market” and would consider appealing.

Grab said it completed the deal within its legal rights, and did not intentionally or negligently breach competition laws. It would abide by remedies set out by the regulator, it added.

Indonesia's Go-Jek, which plans to launch services in Singapore, said it welcomed the regulator's steps. “We're encouraged to see the measures being taken to level the playing field. “It will have a significant effect on our strategy and timeline.”

Other new entrants to the market include Singapore-based Ryde.

Grab said it had not raised fares since the deal and argued that all transport firms, including taxi operators, should be subjected to non-exclusivity curbs.

Grab has also been told to maintain its premerger pricing algorithm and driver commission rates, which the regulator said would protects riders against excessive price surges, and drivers against increases in commissions that they pay to Grab.

The watchdog said it would suspend the measures on an interim basis if a Grab rival was able to garner over 30% of total rides in the ride-hailing services market in a month. It would remove the measures if a rival attained 30% or more of total rides matched in the market for six consecutive months.

Rival services include third-party apps for calling cabs and private vehicles as well as taxi-booking services such as those provided by taxi operator ComfortDelGro Corp Ltd.

Uber and Grab have a month to appeal the Singapore regulator's decision.

The deal remains under anti-trust review in Vietnam, which has warned that it could be blocked if the firms' combined market share in Vietnam exceeds 50%.

Jerry Lim, Grab's country head in Vietnam, said he believed the local regulator will consider the market's unique competitive dynamics and regulatory landscape in its investigation.

In the Philippines, where the deal has been approved, the competition watchdog has said it is monitoring Grab's compliance with conditions intended to improve the quality of service, with any breaches possibly resulting in fines. – Reuters

MTD Group secures RM1.5b financing for One Crown Place project in London

KUALA LUMPUR: MTD Group has secured RM1.5 billion financing from Australia's largest pension fund AustralianSuper and one of the largest real estate investment managers in the world, TH Real Estate, for the development of One Crown Place in London.

One Crown Place which has a gross development value (GDV) of £500 million (RM2.70 billion) is a 370,500 sq ft mixed use scheme to be developed by the group's wholly owned subsidiary, MTD (Jersey) Ltd.

Earlier this year, Mace, a global construction firm, was appointed as the main contractor of the project which is ongoing and slated for completion in early 2021.

“We are very pleased with the outcome of this transaction and the efficient and successful collaboration between multiple stakeholders across the globe. This is a great milestone for us, thanks to the strength of MTD's brand name and the people behind the development of One Crown Place. All of these will further strengthen our position in London,” group CFO Tee Kim Siew said in a statement.

AustralianSuper head of mid risk Jason Peasley said transaction strongly aligns with its real estate debt strategy to target high quality opportunities secured against institutional assets in top-tier locations in European cities.

AustralianSuper has assets under management (AUM) of A$2.3 billion (RM6.9 billion) in direct credit portfolio and A$10 billion (RM30 billion) in property equity portfolio.

TH Real Estate has US$3.3 billion of CRE debt-related AUM in Europe.

The project comprises 136,000 sq ft office space, 7,000 sq ft retail space, a 41-room boutique hotel, 246 luxury residential units and a historic Georgian terrace that will be fully restored as part of the scheme. Bespoke Hotels, the largest independent hotel group in the UK, has been appointed to operate the hotel.

MTD acquired the project, which marked its re-entry into the London real estate and property market after 15 years, from UBS in 2013.

First crude oil cargo arrives at Pengerang Integrated Complex

PENGERANG: Pengerang Refining and Petrochemical (PRefChem) today saw the arrival of the first crude oil cargo at Pengerang Deepwater Terminal 2 at the Pengerang Integrated Complex (PIC), marking its transition into commissioning phase for start-up.

With a refining capacity of 300,000 barrels of crude per day, the refinery upon completion will produce a range of refined petroleum products, including gasoline and diesel, which meet Euro 5 fuel specifications. Additionally, the refinery will provide feedstock for the integrated petrochemicals complex within the PIC, which has the capacity to produce 3.3 million tonnes per annum.

“The arrival of the cargo signifies our readiness to move forward to start-up and commercial operations. We are proud to have overcome the challenges in building this megastructure and remain on-track to meet our target for crude-in. We will begin rigorous commissioning activities leading up to the start-up in the first quarter of 2019,” said PRefChem CEO Dr Colin Wong Hee Huing.

The cargo of two million barrels of crude supplied by Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and Saudi Aramco will be used for commissioning and testing activities, scheduled to commence in October. Currently, the construction of the refinery is nearing completion.

The occasion was graced by PRefChem chairman Datuk Md Arif Mahmood and Saudi Aramco senior vice-president (downstream) Abdulaziz Judaimi, along with members of PRefChem board of directors and representatives from Petronas and Saudi Aramco.